I started playing guitar when my parents bought me my first guitar for Christmas, at the age of 12.
By the time I was 14 I had started playing in local bands, covering the hits of the day, doing youth club and girl guide type gigs in and around Hastings.
I left school at 16 and become a glassblower, continuing to play local gigs. At 18, a local drummer and very good friend, Steve Demetri, asked if I would be prepared to switch from guitar to playing bass guitar, as his band, Stallion, were in need of a bass player. From 6 strings to 4... how hard could it be? I was more than happy to give it a go.
Hastings has always had a thriving music scene and an unusual number of very talented musicians. It was to my surprise that, in 1974, three of these such musicians came knocking on my door (actually, it was my parents door, but we won't quibble). Andy Qunta, Tony Qunta and Lol Cooksey explained that their long-standing bass player Geoff (Jaffa) Peckham had decided to call it a day with Factory and would I like to fill his place. As much as I enjoyed playing with Stallion, Factory were a band with a full gig diary and I thought this would be a great new challenge.
next few years Factory would play many shows, North, South, East and
West of the UK, some great places, some toilets, and occasionally we
would venture into mainland Europe - the kind of shows that are
essential for young musicians learning their craft - they used to call
it "payin' yer dues"
Around 1977/78 Factory decided to call it a day. Andy, Tony and myself continued and became Head On, playing music that was a little more challenging. Considering the increasing popularity and the music business' preoccupation with Punk, it was probably not the cleverest idea. Head On's days were numbered.
In 1980 Hazel O'connor was establishing herself as both an actress and singer. Two members of her band were from Hastings - my old mate Andy from Factory on keys, and sax player extraordinaire Wesley Magoogan. At the end of 1980 Hazel was in need of a bass player, Andy and Wes asked me to audition. After joining Hazel's band and after a couple of tours, an album, high profile TV shows, 2 or 3 or 4 hit singles, the band was dissolved.
The next couple of years were spent trying to get various projects off the ground.
In 1984 I was asked to join ex Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi's band. Jim, had for many years, since Traffic, established himself as a successful singer and songwriter. My time with Jim resulted in only a handful of gigs, and the best part of 2 months rehearsing for a 3 month U.S. tour, that was cancelled at literally the eleventh hour... Shit happens!
Around 1984, Andy Q had been writing songs, one of which "Statistics" had been picked up by Manfred Mann, and eventually included on the Manfred Mann's Earth Band album "Somewhere in Africa". In 1985 Andy informed me that MMEB were auditioning bass players and that I should go for it. As luck would have it, Andy was taking Manfred's place for the auditions. This gave me an advantage over other auditionees, as Andy was able to furnish me with information regarding the songs played and any other titbits that may prove useful. This extremely cunning and underhand ploy worked... I did my first tour with MMEB in 1986, and remain with them to this day.